While there is greater emphasis than ever before on giving girls the opportunity to take the lead, we still have a ways to go in order to ensure that when they have the chance to do so, they are equipped for success.
And one of the best ways we can do this, is by giving girls mentors at a young age.
This issue is especially important when it comes to recent findings suggesting women in leadership roles are at a higher risk of becoming depressed than their male peers.
The study, done by the University of Texas at Austin and published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, found that when women are in positions where they are managing others and have the ability to hire or fire people, they are more likely to suffer from symptoms of depression.
The authors attributed the development of these symptoms to numerous issues, including gender bias when it comes to behavior that is deemed acceptable for men in the workplace versus women.
Tetyana Pudrovska, a sociologist who helped lead the study, said of the findings, “Women in authority positions are viewed as lacking the assertiveness and confidence of strong leaders. But when these women display such characteristics, they are judged negatively for being unfeminine. This contributes to chronic stress.”
Unfortunately, until more systematic change is put into place, it will be a long while before women stop feeling this way in the workplace.
But there is one method that can drastically help women in these situations and it is something that can be done before they even enter the workplace.
It is something that is a core part of what is done at Girls Inc., giving young women mentors to support them from a young age with the process of choosing a career and what to expect in that field.
“A strong mentor can point women to strategies that work to navigate the inevitable stereotyping and resistance,” psychologist Nathilee Caldera told Fast Company in a recent article about the findings.
Do you agree with the findings of this study? How has having a mentor helped shape your career?